2015 Sydney Cup is Long-Range Plan for Sonntag

Sonntag will go to the spelling paddock as originally planned after coming through the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) well on Saturday.

Queensland Derby winner Sonntag will be sent to the spelling paddock before being aimed towards a start in the Sydney Cup.

Queensland Derby winner Sonntag will be sent to the spelling paddock before being aimed towards a start in the Sydney Cup. Photo by Daniel Costello.

The four-year-old gelding was a $7.50 shot to win the 2014 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday but with a top weight of 58.5kg he couldn’t find it in him to beat home Zabisco, finishing three and a half lengths behind the winner in eighth place.

Trainer Henry Dwyer put the loss down to a “flat” run by Sonntag, who was simply looking for more distance.

“He raced like he’s looking for further now, so he’ll go out for four weeks, then come back and do a few weeks on the water-walker before coming back into work with me,” Dwyer told Racing Network on Monday.

“He pulled up okay, no issues, so we’ll continue with Plan A, which was always to go for a break.”

Sonntag enjoyed back-to-back wins in the A.L.H. Group Handicap (2000m) and Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) over a longer distance during the winter and looks set to step up in distance once again for the two mile 2015 Sydney Cup.

Dwyer made it known last week that the $1 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) on April 18 is his long-range target for Sonntag in the autumn, which happens to be the only two mile race held at Randwick Racecourse. Any starts before that will only be preparation for the Cup.

“He’ll come back, probably have one run in Melbourne then we’ll go to Sydney, where the Sydney Cup will still be his target,” Dwyer said.

Before being beaten in the 2014 Eclipse Stakes, Sonntag was on a winning streak triple that included the Listed Sale Cup (1600m) on October 26 and the 2014 Queensland Derby, in which he was right in the first few all the way. He pulled out three wide at the 1100m with the slow pace but was right there to challenge at the turn, boxing on courageously to grab the win just a neck from Pinstripe Lane.

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